Sunday, May 25, 2008

Just a little bit of a belly...

While we were out at the property today, John, Monica, & their two boys came out to visit. Rogue particularly took to John, while the 9 month old puppies Potter, Luna, & Lily couldn't quite decide whether to play with the boys or chew on their rawhides.
Rogue continues to be a picky eater, which is unusual for her but not unusual during the first part of a pregnancy. We've been offering her all sorts of food to encourage her to eat, but she mainly just picks at her food eating little bits at a time. Despite this, she'll still take all the dog biscuits she can get and loves her raw hides!
I finally seem to have found a food that she seems to like better than the others - Bill Jac, which of course is one of the most expenisve foods at Petsmart! Oh well... as long as she eats it! The Bill Jac food is high in animal protein, which is important for growing puppies, so at least she's eating food that's good for her.
Despite Rogue's poor appetite, she still seems to have just a bit of a belly starting, so keep on keeping your fingers crossed! You can be the judge...

Baby bump?

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Still waiting to see...

So the wait continues...but the signs are good, as Rogue is not eating very well. This often may happen early on in pregnancy to females. It is commonly believed to be associated with "morning sickness" which will pass later as the pregnancy progresses. So how and when do we know for sure that Rogue is pregnant?

The options for determining pregnancy in dogs are as follows:
  1. Wait for all of the obvious signs, such as weight gain & lactation. However, some dogs may go through false pregnancies where they show abdominal distension and even produce milk! This is definitely not the most reliable way to tell!
  2. After ~22 days post-breeding, blood may be drawn to run an early pregnancy test for the hormone relaxin. This is a negative or positive test, and does not give us any additional information about the puppies.
  3. At ~25 to 28 days post-breeding, ultrasound can be used to detect fetal heartbeats. It may be difficult to tell exactly how many hearts are beating, but this method can still be used to help estimate litter size.
  4. At ~21 to 31 days post-breeding, abdominal palpation may be used to try to feel the walnut-sized fetuses. Ideal timing is to palpate at approximately 28 days. This requires skill & experience and is not the best way to estimate the number of puppies present.
  5. At ~45-48 days post-breeding, puppy skeletons have begun to calcify and can begin to be picked up on x-ray. This can be used to help estimate the number and size of puppies. As for any safety concerns, x-rays are commonly done in this later stage of pregancy and are considered to be relatively safe. Early pregnancy is when x-rays pose the most significant risk to unborn puppies.

We haven't yet decided what method we will used to confirm Rogue's pregnancy. We typically wait to do x-rays because this allows us to estimate the number and size of the puppies. This information helps us to make critical decisions during the labor.